Antonio Conte hopes he is a busy man in January.
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Chelsea lead the Premier League by five points after 20 games of the season and ahead of their FA Cup third round clash against third-tier Peterborough on Sunday Conte revealed the Blues have several targets lined up for the transfer window.
After the departures of both Oscar and John Obi Mikel to the Chinese Super League — the latter confirmed his move to Tianjin TEDA on Friday, while Oscar’s $73 million move to Shanghai SIPG went through earlier this week week — Conte may have some money to spend this month.
“In January it is always difficult to buy great players because the other teams don’t want to sell,” Conte said. “To buy only to buy, I don’t like. Not closer, but we have some ideas about this. We are working around these ideas.”
With Conte also stating that he doesn’t believe he needs to strengthen in central defense, the main area where the Blues could strengthen is in midfield after losing both Oscar and Mikel.
Reports have linked Chelsea with a move for Bayern Munich’s Arturo Vidal who Conte worked with during his three seasons at Juventus. Any move for the Chilean international midfielder would be expensive (a potential transfer fee of $45 million has been reported) but it would certainly slot in with Conte’s ideology of having powerful destoryers in central midfield.
Thus far he’s largely played with N'Golo Kante and Nemanja Matic in central midfield as two holding players to shield the three-man central defense with Cesc Fabregas the odd-man out but in the 2-0 defeat at Tottenham on Wednesday which snapped their 13-game winning streak, Chelsea’s midfield was somewhat overrun centrally.
Up front is another area where Chelsea could strengthen because if Diego Costa goes down injured, who else is there? Michy Batshuayi will get a run out against Peterborough this weekend but Conte could do with having a more experienced striking option to support Costa in the second half of the season and chip in with vital goals off the bench.